Feature: Muslims in Egypt celebrate end of Ramadan amid tightened security

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-16 01:02:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CAIRO, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Egyptian Muslims flocked on Friday to public parks, zoos and other outdoor places to mark the first day of the Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that comes at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Commemorating Eid, prayers are offered with readings from the Quran in the morning at mosques. People celebrate the day with friends, family and even the whole community together.

The feast is a good chance for parents who go out with their kids to sense the taste of the holy feast. Cairo's renowned Azhar Park, the largest in the city, is always a preferable place for parents to go to with their kids, where the children could play freely and safely.

It is also preferred for its cheap entry prices, which suits low-waged Egyptian families. The ticket costs 10 Egyptian pounds (0.6 U.S. dollars) for children and 20 pounds (1.12 dollars) for adults.

"The park is my favorite place during all feasts, not only this one," Ahmed Izz told Xinhua as he fed his one-year-old baby girl.

"It is vast, clean and safe. It also gives us a sense of festivity due to the large numbers of people celebrating the feast," the 30-year-old clothes seller added that he also prefers the Azhar Park since it is affordable, unlike other fun places such as private game zones and hotels.

During the Eid, children often receive new clothes and their pocket money, while parents exchange gifts and pastries.

For Egyptian families, the Eid is never complete without the consumption of a batch or two of delicious kahk (cookies). A recognized Ramadan staple, kahk is cherished and baked in all Arab Muslim households. If Ramadan is the month of fasting, then the Eid al-Fitr is the "Eid al-Kahk," and it is referred to as such by many Muslims.

Manal, a 42-year-old housewife, was distributing kahk to her neighbors after the morning prayers. She said the first breakfast after the holy month of Ramadan means kahk with a cup of tea.

"I got pocket money from my father, uncle and grandfather, and gifts from my mother after the morning prayer," said Manal's seven-year-old daughter who was playing with balloons in a small garden at Cairo's Maadi district.

The young girl wearing a flowery dress said she will take a Nile boat with her family at night.

Beside outdoors greeneries and Nile cruises, beaches across Egypt are also crowded by the holidaymakers, with hotels in Alexandria, north coast and Ain Sokhna fully booked.

Since the very early hours of the morning, Egyptians filled the streets to welcome the three-day festivity while security measures were beefed up.

The Interior Ministry has deployed 30,000 officers and conscripts and intensified its presence in the vicinity of some landmarks.

Mohamed Ismael, a carpenter in his 30s, was also enjoying the feast with his fiancee in Azhar Park after he spent all feasts over the past three years inside the family house.

"It was the first time for us to breeze fresh air alone in the religious holiday as we felt security and stability have been back into the country after several years of concerns," he said.

Egypt has witnessed anti-government attacks that have killed hundreds of policemen and army personnel since the military removed former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule.

Most of the anti-government attacks were claimed by the "Sinai State" militant group, a Sinai-based affiliate of the Islamic State militant group.

Egypt launched a major military operation in February for crushing the terrorists, mainly centered in Sinai and the Western Desert near the Libya border, leaving nearly 286 militants dead.